1 May 2014

I Was Wrong: Anfield hero sorry for harsh 'criticism' of 'outstanding' £9m LFC star

Two weeks ago, Liverpool legend Bruce Grobbelaar delivered a withering verdict on Simon Mignolet's debut season at Anfield, and although his criticism seemed harsh, the former Reds number one arguably got it spot on with his assessment of the Belgian stopper. After receiving a backlash from fans, though, Grobbelaar has moved to clarify his comments.

When asked in a recent interview about Mignolet, Grobbelaar insisted that the £9m signing is 'not the best all-round keeper', and offered offered the following four reasons why he's not the long term solution for LFC:

* He doesn't 'play out from the back' effectively
* He's 'not commanding enough' in the penalty box.
* Position at free kicks is 'not right'.
* He concedes too many goals.

Grobbelaar further explained:

“A keeper should never be beaten – as he [Mignolet] has been – by a header from three yards out. You compare that to the number of goals Petr Cech has conceded at Chelsea and that tells you the difference. The keeper coach has to work him harder and he can improve a lot, of course he can."

Speaking to 5-Times this week Grobbelaar indirectly apologised for his comments, arguing that he 'wasn't having a go at Mignolet', and insisted that the Belgian has 'all the attributes to be a top goalkeeper'. He explained:

“He hasn’t had a steady back four and that’s probably why he has let in that many goals [which is] more than half the other teams have actually scored. It wasn’t a criticism of him - it is just because we have got a formidable striking force that we are plus 52"

Hmmm. backtracking or not, that still sounds like a pretty scathing assessment of Mignolet! For the record, I don't think Grobbelaar needed to apologise; he's entitled to his opinion, and what he said about Mignolet is arguably true.

Granted, Liverpool's defensive frailty is partly to blame here (though Johnson, Agger, and Skrtel featured heavily last season, too), but the Reds have conceded more goals than any other team in the top four, and Mignolet has to take his share of responsibility for that.

The amazing goalscoring form of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge is papering over the cracks of LFC's defensive - and goalkeeping - frailty, but there's no guarantee that SAS will be able to continue the same level of prolificity next season.

Not that Mignolet should be worried. Brendan Rodgers latest comments seem to suggest his long-term future at Anfield is secure. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo yesterday, Rodgers hailed the Belgian as an 'outstanding' goalkeeper; praised him for making a 'big contribution' to the season, and argued that he 'hasn't ever cost LFC a game'. He added:

“I’ve been delighted with Simon. His form has been very good; he has consistently made really crucial saves, [and] he has certainly gained us points"

I disagree with Rodgers' disingenuous contention that Mignolet 'hasn't ever cost LFC a game':

Dec 26: Man City 2-1 LFC: Mistake after Negredo's shot led to City's winning goal. Mignolet should've saved the shot, but basically palmed the ball into his own net.

Jan 18: LFC vs. Aston Villa: Totally missed Agbonlahor's cross, which allowed Benteke to double Villa's lead.

Dec 29: Chelsea 2-1 LFC: Failed to keep out Eto'o's weak, bobbling shot, and once again appeared to palm the ball into his own net.

That's three games right there that Mignolet has 'cost' Liverpool, and if Liverpool had managed to get draws against City and Chelsea over the Christmas period, the Reds would be 5 points ahead of Chelsea; 6 points clear of Man City, and the title would almost certainly be in the bag.



  1. We need a top goalkeeper next season. unless if SM can get into top gear.
    Agree with Grobyb and JK on this.

  2. Nicolas Chamberlain6:26 pm, May 01, 2014

    We played at Anfield against Villa.
    I think your assessment of Mignolet is correct but there are more players that have cost us point. Toure against West Brom, Sterling's miss against City, etc. but Mignolet is our GK and his only job is to stop as many shots, headers...
    Should we buy another GK that can compete with Mignolet?

  3. he did save the penalty first game of the season though. i don't know about anyone else but personally i don't feel we'd be where we are now if we'd have drawn that game!

  4. I'm no fan of Pepe Reina. But his ball distribution and goal assists were exceptional.

  5. I agree with the criticisms of Mig and would prefer to have kept Pepe but that is done with now.
    Mig is generally a good shot stopper and has good reactions. Hopefully with a stronger defence next year Mig will continue to develop his all round game (mainly crosses, and distribution) and we won't need another goalikeeper.

  6. Whilst SM is a good stopper and I agree with JK about direct impact on goals, I also feel that his uncertainty and lack of command in the box has contributed to the "shaky" defence this season. He needs that part of his game completely overhauled then lets look at the distribution.

  7. Our back four combined this season (Agger, Skrtel, Toure, Cissokho, Flanagan, Johnson, Enrique and Sakho) have made 16 defensive errors this season. This is excluding our midfield!

  8. He has made world class saves to win points aswell, such as city (h) stoke and Southampton

  9. I would also argue that Toure's mistake was partly Simon's fault.

  10. what ever he is ... he needs competition and we another goal keeper may be reina back

  11. While I agree with the class saves of SM. I think the expectation from the Liverpool GK should be to make the world class saves with no errors (or minimum errors).

  12. Agree and would take any 1 of Chelski's 3

  13. In fairness, Mignolet has also had his share of great saves this season that have helped win points for Liverpool.

  14. Tbh I was one of the fans unhappy with grobbelaar but not because of what he said, more the timing of his comments. Can't have helped migs confidence reading that from a legendary keeper at the club at such a high pressure time of the season. He may be right in his assessment but he surely could've waited til the end of the season before publicly stating his concerns.
    Have to disagree with BR tgat he's never cost us a game. The city and Chelsea games at Christmas, especially the city game, the winning goals were goalkeeping errors IMO

  15. His penalty save vs Stoke was one of the catalyst for our successful season. Simon did save us quite a few points.

  16. I think its more of an apology for presenting the criticism in such a harsh manner, rather than the criticism itself.

  17. Wrong focus. We need to focus on the back four and another winger, an attacking MF and a #3 striker.